Strategic intentions (2014-2015)


In late 2013 and early 2014 the McGill Library staff embarked on a “strategic intent” process to create shared understandings of some big strategic areas facing the McGill Library and lay out a framework for beginning to address them. Through staff retreats, we surfaced areas for which our staff felt needed the most focus—things we should be doing but weren’t, and things we were doing that we shouldn’t. It was a lightweight process designed to identify a few key areas of work, and as such was not a formal planning process. The outcome is a more flexible and informal document than one might see in a more traditional strategic plan.

From the ideas generated at the staff retreat sessions we have selected a small number of high level areas to treat as strategic initiatives over the next few years. In the following Strategic Intent document each of these seven strategic areas has a description of the main issue and a high level initiative to undertake, along with expected outcomes and some means of assessment of these outcomes. For some, we can now outline some more concrete actions to take to achieve our strategic goal. For others, these more concrete actions will emerge from work and further study of the larger initiative. For all, we will remain flexible and seek additional means to achieve our stated outcomes as we work. This is a process that will unfold over the next few years as we work on these strategic initiatives, rather than being prescriptive from the beginning.

Our staff will be key to the success of these strategic initiatives. Some collaborators are listed on this document, and these too will grow and evolve as work progresses. Each strategic initiative will follow a different path, some with small targeted working groups and others with more formal administrative structures. Executive owners will pull in staff from throughout the library as needed during different phases of work.


Strategic intention

Description Executive owner
A Grow the Library as a user-centred organization

Grow the McGill University Library and Archives as a user-centred organization that recognizes users as a primary motivator in all decision making.

Make usability of all work products, including interactions between library staff, a priority.

Develop systematic methods for consulting users and gathering data on their behaviour on an ongoing basis, and value user-centred focus by all library staff in their daily work. 

Colleen Cook
B Feasibility study

Reimagine the McGill Library and Archives for the 21st century.

Produce a master plan by conducting a feasibility study in fiscal year 2014-2015.

The feasibility study is the first step in the development of a master plan for McGill Library and Archives. The study will be produced by an architectural firm with input from University-wide stakeholders. Rethinking and transforming the existing physical and virtual Library is essential to meet the evolving teaching, learning and research needs of our users. The master plan will be an invaluable tool to build awareness and support fundraising. 

Diane Koen
C Research and teaching commons Investigate and potentially pilot virtual and physical Research & Teaching Commons to bring together services in support of these activities across campus, and advance library services for the future. Focus on making these services easier to access for users and identify and strategically fill service gaps that exist. Daniel Boyer
D Evolving liaison librarian model In light of 21st century, user-centered focus in librarianship, evolve the Liaison Librarian model, develop recommendations for consideration and implement accordingly. Cynthia Leive
E Discoverability of rare and archival materials Improve access to and discoverability of rare book, special collection, manuscripts and archives based on best practices through the development of: 1) collection development policies and 2) workflows for access, processing, collections conservation, and digitization. Joseph Hafner
F Discovery layer & ILS

Maintain current discovery layer (WorldCat Local), Knowledgebase (WorldShare KB) and back end ILS (Aleph) for at least one more year. During this time, improve current data and set up environments allowing staff to become more familiar with various system options.

Joseph Hafner
Jenn Riley
G Mentorship for librarians Design and provide an orientation and mentoring program for librarians to foster the professional growth and the development of librarians as they progress through the tenure and promotion process. Carole Urbain


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